A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
245 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
8/10
Visually stunning, a little stilted, but a must see!
TheLittleSongbird26 May 2009
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a very complicated play, and can get very silly at times, and this film is surprisingly faithful to the play. Yes, there was an attempt to partially modernise it, therefore the script wasn't as good as it could have been. The film itself is lovingly designed, with lavish costumes, stunning sets(my favourite being the wood set) and handsome cinematography. The music was lovely with clever use of music by the likes of Mendelssohn and Verdi. I thought the acting was very good indeed, Kevin Kline stealing the show as Bottom, most of the time hilarious, especially in the play scene, when we are shown what a bad actor Bottom really is. Michelle Pfeiffer is lovely also, and Rupert Everett is very charming also as Oberon. Callista Flockhart convinces also as Helena, and Stanley Tucci has a ball as Puck. The direction is competent, but my only other criticism is that the film is a little overlong. Overall, I genuinely enjoyed this film, not as good as Much Ado About Nothing(with Kenneth Branagh) or Macbeth (with Jon Finch), so I will happily award it 8/10. Bethany Cox.
20 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
charming
Kirpianuscus27 April 2016
a charming adaptation. loyal to the play, using few modern pieces, beautiful cinematography, perfect cast. a film who reminds the colors, the flavors, the joy, the humor of a lovely masterpiece. all is fresh. all is seductive. and, in few scenes, almost perfect. a film who seems invent again an universe but, in fact, only impose its true nuances. Kevin Kline's work is gorgeous and Rupert Everett seems be the perfect Oberon. the wood, the story of the two couples, the delicate story of Tysbe, the grace of atmosphere of an Athens who seems between periods, all does the film a seductive adventure. and that is not surprising. only admirable because the simplicity is not easy to create in the case of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
A pretty film that doesn't make it easy for the uninitiated
bob the moo13 July 2003
A tale of gods and mortals and that most confusing of subjects – love. With relationships confused on earth, things become very simple when Puck is given reign to cast love spells on several people to create a complex tangle of love that shows that love never runs straight or true.

I'm that I will be seen as some sort of idiot for not liking this film but, in some vague sort of defence, I'd like to point out that I have seen and enjoyed many other Shakespeare adaptations on the screen and enjoyed many of them. The problem I had with this film was that more time had been spent on the visual presentation rather than the presentation of the story. For this reason I though the film looked really nice and had real imagination and flair behind it – but the plot was not given as much work.

I like to think that I am not stupid, but, were it not for the fact that I had a rough knowledge of the story prior to watching this version, I would have really struggled to get a hold of what was going on, as it was I still found it difficult to keep up with. I would have appreciated it more had the film been a little kinder in helping me understand the characters and the plot without relying on me to catch and understand every word (which I couldn't).

I can read Shakespeare and understand the dialogue fine, however when it is coming at me at machine gun pace, I'll struggle and need the visual aspect of the story to help me out a little bit by making the film free to clutter and easy to understand. I'm afraid much of it was lost on me as I struggled to keep up, and the film suffered as a result. Visually of course, it is great and it has it's witty moments but it didn't really do it for me.

Which, considering the great cast, was a shame. Kline stole most of the scenes he was in and was the best part of the film for me, Tucci was an enjoyable Puck, but with many others I found it difficult to find the characters behind the famous faces. Pfeiffer and Everett were both good but I didn't get much from Flockhart, Friel, Bale or West. The cast is deep in faces but this distracted me even more and served to remind me of how much window dressing this film seemed to have when all I really wanted was good story telling.

Overall I didn't enjoy this film simply because I found it hard to get into. I fully intend to watch it again in the future as I feel it may have been partially my fault, but I must say that I did expect a little help from the film. If you look at some recent adaptations of Shakespeare for the cinema you'll see that many have their own touches (visual, not dialogue) and that many of these help to deepen the characters and add understanding for the audience. This film had none of that – the fact that it was a film was used to make it look good and bring in a strong famous cast, it should have used the media to also make the story more accessible and fun to watch.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
If I've offended...
lee_eisenberg29 April 2007
I remember that when "A Midsummer Night's Dream" came out, many critics considered it a weird version of Shakespeare's play. I didn't see anything particularly wrong with it. Granted, they did change some things (namely moving the setting about 300 years ahead of the original play's setting), but there's nothing bad about that. I probably should admit that one thing which I've never quite understood about the play is whether or not one of the stories portrayed is supposed to eclipse the others. The one that most sticks in my mind is Nick Bottom getting turned into a donkey (especially thanks to Kevin Kline's neat interpretation of the role).

So, while I wouldn't consider this movie the ultimate masterpiece (particularly in a year that saw "The Sixth Sense", "American Beauty" and "Being John Malkovich"), it's a fairly edifying experience. It's a little strange to see Calista Flockhart as Helena, given that she's best known as Ally McBeal, but she still does OK with the role). So overall, I do recommend the movie. Also starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci, Rupert Everett, Christian Bale and David Strathairn. To paraphrase the cast: the "Fish Called Wanda" thief, Ally McBeal, Catwoman, Walter Winchell, a certain character actor, Batman and Edward R. Murrow.

To think. After Bottom gets turned into a donkey and has a fling with Titania, she says that she was enamored an ass. No matter how you look at it, he always sounds like a posterior.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
A Misummer Night's Dream
jboothmillard26 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I had seen a cartoon version of this William Shalespeare tale, but I had always wanted to see a live action one, and this star filled version is almost perfect. It is the story of a group of four partners, Helena (Ally McBeal's Calista Flockhart), Lysander (Dominic West), Demetrius (Christian Bale) and Hermia (Anna Friel), and complications with their love situations. Oberon (Rupert Everett), King of the Fairies was originally getting the love juice flower only to make a fool of Queen Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer), but he also decided to get his servant Puck (The Terminal's Stanley Tucci) to put the juice on the eyes of the four people, getting their identities mixed up. But it is the group of performing actors' "main man", always fun Kevin Kline that is best as the ass-turned Nick Bottom. Also starring David Strathairn as Theseus and Sophie Marceau as Hippolyta. There are some funny moments, but it is the pantomime type format that is just the slightest bit annoying. Worth watching!
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A very funny version of Shakespeare's classic comedy
Tweekums7 June 2018
Set in the Italian town of Monte Athens during the nineteenth century this Shakespearean comedy follows a group of young lovers. Hermia and Lysander are very much in love but her father has forbidden then from marrying as he has promised her hand to Demetrius. Meanwhile Helena loves Demetrius but he doesn't love her. Lysander and Hermia escape to the nearby woods but are pursued by Demetrius who is in turn followed by Helena. Also present in the woods are a group of actors looking for somewhere quiet to rehearse. Unknown to any of them the wood is part of the fairy realm and they soon find themselves subject to all sorts of mischief as Oberon, king of the fairies, has his servant Puck sprinkle a magic love potion that causes some of the four lovers to change who they love; those unaffected are understandable rather perturbed. Puck also affects one of the actors, Bottom the Weaver, who is turned into a donkey; and Titania, the queen of the fairies, who falls in love with Bottom.

This adaption of Shakespeare's play is a lot of fun with its expected romantic confusions and generally silliness. The transatlantic cast, including actors from Britain and the United States, does a fine job bringing their characters to life. These include Dominic West and Anna Friel as Lysander and Hermia; Calista Flockhart and Christian Bale as Helena and Demetrius; Kevin Kline as Bottom and Rupert Everett, Michelle Pfeiffer and Stanley Tucci as Oberon, Titania and Puck. The story may be over four hundred years old but it still provides plenty of laughs... especially during the final scene when we finally see the actors' hilariously bad production. It is also surprisingly sexy for a PG rated film... at one point we even have Hermia and Helena wrestling in a muddy pond! Overall this is a lot of fun; don't be put off by the Shakespearian English it is easy to understand... certainly easier than some slang used in 'modern' films!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Plastic-coated Shakespeare...
moonspinner5529 July 2005
Self-enchanted rendering of the Bard! Shakespeare's play is transported to a 19th Century Italian village, where uptight lovers learn to loosen up with assistance from the King and Queen of the Fairies. Subplot about a village play comes off much better than the wafty fantasy elements, and only Kevin Kline and Stanley Tucci seem comfortable with their roles in this lightweight treatment. Everyone looks to be having a good time, but it's pasted-together frivolity. Director Michael Hoffman's handling is too coy, with many movie-star close-up smiles which continually rob the picture of freshness. This work was previously filmed in 1935, 1966 and 1968.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
impossible to understand
Gordon-116 February 2003
I had high expectations of this movie before I watched it. The cast was totally glittering, with so many famous stars in one movie! When i watched it, I was disappointed. First the actors tried to speak a British accent but failed badly. Also the mannerisms were modern American mannerisms, not 18-19th century mannerisms. I could not imagine a 18-19th century gentleman would point a finger at someone and laugh out loud.

Then, the movie itself was impossible to understand. It was partially because of the old English, and partially because of the complicated plot. There were so many people in the woods that I completely lost track.

The only thing I was impressed by the movie was the colourful images in every scene. That's the only thing that kept me watching the film.
0 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
A solid adaptation
studioAT7 October 2017
I enjoyed this adaptation of Shakespeare's classic comedy, and thought the big name cast did well in bringing the iconic characters to life. The star power perhaps won't have the same effect on students watching it now as part of their studies, but it's still a good adaptation.

I thought it particular Calista Flockhart shone, but Kevin Kline also has his moments.

A solid adaptation.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A Dream Indeed.
anaconda-406585 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999): Dir: Michael Hoffman / Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Kevin Kline, Calista Flochhart, Rupert Everett, Stanley Tucci: Gloriously stunning fantasy that underlines our desire for love. Case in point, Calista Flockhart peddles after a frustrated male who is in love with another woman. Actors assemble for a play and Kevin Kline auditioning for all roles. Sighting all this are the fairies who live in the forest enchanted by a Queen. When the actors draw near to the forest twilight in preparation for their play, the magic begins thus leading to a quiet night of mist and stardust. Very funny with exquisite production and visual delight directed with wit and charm by Michael Hoffman who previously collaborated with Michelle Pfeiffer in the mediocre One Fine Day. Michelle Pfeiffer is stunning as the fairy Queen and Rupert Everett fools her with enchantment that will bring bewilderment and focus. Kline takes a strange transformation hair and donkey ears but will enact his true hilarity on the stage. Flockhart is hilarious in her naïve hopeless state. Stanley Tucci is hilarious as Puck who ends up screwing up all the romantic ties when sent out on his orders. Themes regard blind love that we often fall victim too. Appropriately moves from scene to scene is Shakespearean stage fashion, it is an enchanting masterpiece with a ravishing sense of wonder. Score: 10 / 10
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Magical and gorgeous
HotToastyRag21 May 2020
No offense to the lavish 1935 adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, but anyone who's seen it knows it's been in dire need of a remake. Yes, there's a lot to appreciate about it given the time it was made, but after 65 years, it's time to step it up. Thank you Michael Hoffman for directing the best version, one so great it doesn't ever need to be remade again.

Even if you're not a fan of Shakespeare, like yours truly, it's always a treat to watch a movie that makes the dry stories come to life with actors that make it seem like they're actually speaking English. The plot of this romantic comedy of errors is very well-known, and if you want to see an incredible cast fall in and out of love with each other, rent it this weekend and have a few friends over. I love the mystical feeling of the forest, with romantic lighting, glittering fairies, and endless flowers adding lots of fun to the already fluffy plot. Kevin Kline stars as Bottom, the hilariously conceited actor, and King and Queen of the fairies Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Everett are elegant and gorgeous among the mystical set designs and pretty costumes. Impish Stanley Tucci is Puck, who squeezes the magical love potion on everyone's eyes. Calista Flockhart, Christian Bale, Dominic West, and Anna Friel are the confused victims, and you'll also see David Strathairn, Sophie Marceau, Roger Rees, Max Wright, Bill Irwin, and Sam Rockwell frolicking among the fun.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A great classic Shakespeare film!
Sylviastel7 December 2005
I believe that this film version of William Shakespeare's classic, "A Midsummer's Night Dream" is better than the 1968 Royal Shakespeare film version. Now I am not saying that the acting is much better, it could fare better with this cast like Kevin Kline, Michael Tucci, Calista Flockhart, Michelle Pfeiffer, David Straitharn, and others to mention. The quality of this film is superior to the 1968 version starring Dame Judi Dench C.H., Dame Diana Rigg C.B.E., and Dame Helen Mirren. The quality is shown by the location, costumes, and the expense it took to make this film look first rate. It tries to be faithful to the text and I believe it is more than satisfactory. I hope this film version is shown in schools because I believe that if you are going teach Shakespeare that you should do both comedy and tragedy. His comedies like "Much Ado About Nothing" and "A Midsummer's Night Dream" shows Shakespeare's sense of humor and playfulness with the living as opposed to watching a tragedy. Most high schools are working on the tragedies like Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Julius Caesar but I think they should also do one comedy for each tragedy than maybe students would not cringe with distaste over doing Shakespeare at all. I gave it a 9 because I think the acting could have been better or improved.
8 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
admirable work
Vincentiu29 May 2014
it is not easy to surprise with a Shakespeare adaptation. and this film is a courageous act in this sense. but, scene after scene, it becomes more. the secret - deep respect for text, the splendid performance, the interesting solutions for each detail. but basic virtue is the science of director to create a pure Shakespeare adaptation and the new location is a piece who has its perfect role. than, the balance between impressive cast and the play. and, sure, the flavor of exemplary old fashion show. for a Shakespeare admirer, it could be a delight. for the common public , good remember and new occasion to discover an unique universe. for the young viewer - victim of internet and not very close by book, maybe, a form of revelation. that is the splendid gift of film - to be useful more than charming. to recreate emotion who has , in few moments, the status of magic.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
The screen or not the screen, that is the question
The-Sarkologist13 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
There are basically two things that this movie proves, and that is that Shakespeare does make more sense when it is acted on stage (or on screen) and that the Royal Shakespeare Company production that I saw years ago is still the best, and funniest, performance of this play that I have seen (though including this movie I would have to make that count to be two). I hope that most people who are actually reading this already know what the plot of A Midsummer Night's Dream is all about as I don't really want to waste anytime going over it again, but I guess I will have to.

As can be expected with most Shakespearian plays there is no one simple plot, and in fact this play is notorious for not actually having one single plot, but rather a collection of minor subplots that finishes up with a rather absurd performance of Pyrimus and Phisbie. Basically the king and queen of Athens (Theseus and Hippolyta) are getting married and stage a competition for the person that can make the best play. However, there are four younger people, Demetrius, Lysander, Helena, and Hermia, who are also major characters. Demetrius (I think) is engaged to Hermia, but Hermia and Lysander are in love, and Helena loves Demetrius. Then there is the faerie world where Titania and Oberon rule, and the Faerie king and queen are having a spat over possession of an Indian baby.

Anyway, the four younger ones decided that they do not like the civilised world of Athens so they flee to the forest, and Oberon happens to spy Demetrius fleeing from Helena and finds that to be rather immature, and decides to work his magic, through his servant Puck, to make Demeritus fall in love with Helena, but Puck gets it mixed up and magics Lysander instead, and Lysander then falls in love with Helena, and thus we have a huge mix up where the four are running around everywhere and everybody is confused as to who loves who. Meanwhile, the four working class men sneak off into the woods to practice their play, and also end up under the spells of Oberon.

One interesting thing that I picked up from this play, and I have mentioned it elsewhere, is the contrast between civilisation and nature. It is believed by the human characters that while under civilisation there is law, under nature there is freedom, however this turns out to be quite the opposite. Lysander and Helena flee civilisation to the forest to be free of the law of the civilisation, but end up under the law of the forest. As it turns out, by fleeing to the forest they are not escaping to freedom, but a new ruler and a new law. The theatrical version that I saw had the same actors playing Titania and Oberon as well as Hippolyta and Theseus (which adds to the weight that there is still law, and rulership, in the forest).

Another interesting aspect is the nature of the dream. Once again I have mentioned this elsewhere, but the entire play in and of itself is a dream which we, the audience, are experience, and Puck outlines this at the end. However, the entire episode in the forest is also a dream for the characters, and we see that after they enter the forest they all fall asleep, and before they leave the forest, they are also asleep, so the entire episode in the forest, particularly the mix up, is bracketed by two episodes of sleep, and thus this whole escapade in a sense is a dream. Bottom says so much when he wakes up and discovers that he is no longer an ass.

Further, we note that the dream world does have an impact upon the civilised world, as Demetrius falls asleep despising Helena and awakes loving Helena. What the movie managed to draw out more is the sexual nature of the play, which once again does not come out well in the written word, particularly with the language that is used. For instance, in another play I saw one of the actors, using demonic language, speaks of the man's horns and the woman's cloven hoofs, which, as it turns out, is a reference to their sexual organs.

I did enjoy this film, but it was not as good as the play that I had seen. I was disappointed that they had shifted the setting to Italy, because the use of Greece in the play distanced the action of the play far back into the mythological past to add further to its dreamlike nature. Theseus and Hyppolita are both Greek myths, and exist the the time before the more historical period of Socrates, Leonidas, and Xerxes. Even the character of Lysander, named possibly after the Spartan Lawgiver, is also quite a mythological person. However, I did find the use of antique gadgets such as the bike and the gramophone to add something to the film, and added a newer dimension of how modern technology is beginning to intrude into the dream world, and in doing so, destroying the magical nature of the dream world. In the end, both Oberon and Titania leave the forest, possibly never to return, as reason begins to override faith.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Class movie with no popcorn
John6Daniels30 March 2021
I remember watching this for those redundant class assignments. It was good just felt like a dysfunctional movie in which I didn't learn anything from during the skool daze.

The scenery was good. It felt more like a play than a movie. It's not horrible and it's not that boring. However, it's a movie and class assignments that we can do without because it teaches nothing.

What can be learned? Like i said nothing

Verdict: you may have a dream while watching this product.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Excellent version of a Shakespeare classic
Red-12523 September 2014
Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999) was directed by Michael Hoffman. who also wrote the screenplay. This is an excellent version of MND, a play that has been filmed many times. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This version worked for me.

Some of the casting was excellent--Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania, Stanley Tucci as Puck, and Rupert Everett as Oberon. Calista Flockhart was miscast as Helena. In the play, Helena is supposed to be tall. (There's an entire scene where the fact that she's taller than Hermia is discussed.) However, Hoffman wanted a marquee name, and he chose Flockhart.

Kevin Kline plays Nick Bottom, the weaver. Kline is a superb physical actor, but he looks too handsome and intelligent for the role. Director Hoffman got around this by making him a dandy. When we meet Bottom on screen, he's dressed in the height of fashion, flirting with all the women who gather around him. Bottom is supposed to be a working class rustic, a "rude mechanical," and that's not Kline. However, once you accept the fact that this is how Bottom will be portrayed, Kline's excellent acting skills carry it off.

This film will work better on a large screen, but we enjoyed it on DVD. Production values are excellent, and, more important, Shakespeare's concept shines through. This is a fine film if you are a Shakespeare expert, but it's also a great introduction to Shakespeare for someone unfamiliar with his work.

For some reason, this movie carries a dismal 6.5 IMDb rating. It's much better than that. Don't miss it.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Gorgeous film not bad Shakespeare adaptation
dfranzen7020 February 2000
There have been many adaptations of Shakespeare plays over the last decade or so, most of them aimed squarely at younger viewers. You know the drill: The director picks out rocking, hip tunes to spice up the soundtrack and some hot, young stars to broadly interpret the Bard's work.

That's not the case here. Kevin Kline gets to ham it up as Nick Bottom, the base mechanical with delusions of thespian grandeur, and Michelle Pfeiffer gets to show off her own acting chops as Titania, the Queen of the fairies. Okay, so maybe a little knowledge of the play itself would help the average viewer, but if you're not a fan of the play, you can still witness some absolutely sumptuous camerawork and some funny, funny scenes - many of them dealing with the spellbound Bottom, who's been turned into a jackass. Stanley Tucci underplays (somewhat surprisingly) his role as the mischievous Puck, and even Callista Flockhart turns in a solid performance as one of four human (non-fairy) lovers.
16 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
A testament to the fact that Shakespeare is enjoyable even when performed poorly.
Chris_Docker2 October 1999
Wonderful scenery in the opening few scenes and glorious opera and classics throughout. Sadly the acting is more in the old ages of Laurence Oliver's "passionate wood" school of acting. For those viewers who have been spoiled with Shakespeare as directed by Branagh, Polanski or Baz Luhrmann, this offering of Midsummer Night's Dream hardly comes up to scratch. The great exception is Anna Friel. Except when her Northern accept seeps through, she shows herself to be a very gifted actress. The rest of the cast seem more like they're "doing Shakespeare" for the fun of it or to have it on their CVs. Flockhart's Ally McBeal character doesn't sit well, , and the rest are thrown together in what looks like a Dr Doolittle meets Danny Kaye. The film almost comes alive though towards the end in the "play within a play" - the performances then at least seem a little more sincere and we don't have to be continually distracted by the mishmash of various English and American accents. Nice effort, but that's all - except for the fact that Shakespeare can be enjoyed, if enunciated well (as it is in this movie), even when the acting isn't up to standard.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Sigh. ANOTHER update.
Spleen13 December 1999
Okay, I'll bite: why late 19th century Tuscany? Even if Hoffman had no particular reason to suppose that his change of setting was for the worse (and I think it is, if only because it renders the fairies' references to `the Athenian' completely mystifying), he should PRESUME that his change is for the worse, unless he has good positive reason to think that it's for the better. Shakespeare's original setting is always the default setting. When will twentieth century directors, stage AND screen, get this through their thick skulls?

Now that I've said that I should add that the Tuscan photography is lovely. But the midsummer night's dream itself is all studio work, and it looks cluttered, and confused, and ugly, ugly, ugly. Any HINT of enchantment has been removed. To make matters worse, this is clearly an accident - they were so obviously TRYING to make the forest look beautiful, or at the very least striking, by night. I spent most of the time trying to suppress sympathetic embarrassment. To make matters worse STILL, the forest the characters see during the day is manifestly NOT the same forest they spend the night in. This is a more serious flaw than you might think. We never see a commonplace forest transformed: instead we see a commonplace forest, then a lousy studio set, then the forest again.

We're never allowed to forget that this is taking place in the 1890s. Bicycles and phonograph records litter the landscape. But I'm glad to see that this Tuscan town is so conservative a backwater that everyone is still whistling the music from `La Traviata'. Period opera music would be Puccini and Mascagni - but why bother with those two, when we have Verdi?

This is, as I've said, a weak and rather odd play of Shakespeare's, and I'm not sure Hoffman knew why he wanted to bring it to life. I get the feeling he doesn't know what to do with either his cast or his material. Kevin Kline does very well, mostly, although he needed to be tamed; but Calista Flockhart - bah. Still, I don't quite have the heart to say that the resulting movie is bad.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Haven't read the play, but I'd say this adaptation will suffice
Seraphion9 August 2014
The story rolls in nicely. Trying to retain the nature as a play, the dialog retains the old English grammatical and vocabulary, though I don't think that it is the exact dialog from the play. What I like better is that, still in the spirit of retaining the feel of the original play, the main part of this movie is shot on a set that seem to be made for a stage, not shot at an outdoors location as what it would be inferred from the story. The costumes and props also hold this true, having them elaborate costume just as eye candies without having them interact realistically. For instance, the wings on the fairies looked just as glued parts on the costumes without having any complex effects on them. It's nice to see many great talents acting here. I like how this is one Christian Bale's previous works before the bigger titles. Other names as big as Pfeifer, Flockhart, West, and Marceau also did a good job, and for sure pumped the hype for curiosity over this movie.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Might be a little tough to stay tuned in to but...
KUAlum265 August 2005
...this is still a very game and bright,cleverly paced and light-as-air film! The cast is pretty well-suited for this offering from the BArd of Avon,one of the more "trippy" works(I'm no expert on all of Shakespeare's plays,but "Tempest" would seem to qualify the most trippy of them all!). Kevin Kline as the fanciful dreamer-cum-donkey Bottom,Rupert Everett as the coolly calculating OBeron and Satnley Tucci as the instant comic relief in Puck are particularly notable in this film. The contributions of Christian Bale,Calista Flockhart(not nearly as bad as some would have you think),Anna Friel,Dominic West and Michelle Pfeiffer are fine,if not extraordinary here.

The pacing is almost a little TOO airy,and one might be driven to distraction watching this,especially if you're not watching this in a movie theatre,since it would seem to lose out in a battle of distractions in a "normal" home or non-cinematic setting. To echo the sentiments of a previous commenter,Director Michael Hoffman for the most part pulls off bringing to the cinema a story that seems much more suited for the stage. The choice of lush,19th century Italy as the backdrop of the film(replete with opera arias and classical music as its score) was a pleasant element of note. Whatever you do when watching this film(and I cannot stress this enough),BLOCK OUT AS MANY DISTRACTIONS AS POSSIBLE. You'll be well-served for it.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
glotably bogglety bliddyt hashfosh blahglo....
baumer7 July 1999
That is what the movie sounded like to me. There should have been sub-titles to this film because those of us that lost interest in Shakespeare in the tenth grade would at least understand what they were mumbling about. And here's a suggestion/point. As much as I didn't like Shakespeare In Love, I enjoyed in ten fold compared to this pie of garbage. And the reason for that is because it was in ENGLISH! They may have been characters from good ole Will himself, but at least they spoke so we could understand them. When you make a certain type of movie because it is the "in" thing to do, then try to make sure you emulate what made the previous films a success. If you take Shakespeare In Love and 10 Things I Hate About You, they were based on Shakespeare stuff, but they were updated so that any audience could enjoy them. Midnight Summers Dream talks and I can't listen. I can't understand thus I hate it and I walk out. Plus, the humour is so stupid in this film. Are we supposed to laugh at childish antics like Kevin Kline having stuff spilled on him? Isn't this humour that would entertain a three year old? Is that what Hollywood has done? Treat us like three year olds?

Movie execs, " Let's make another Shakespeare film, the last worked."

Other exec, " Good idea old chap. What shall we do? "

Movie exec, " Who cares, they'll eat anything up that we put out for them. After all one successful film means that every film like that one will be a success."

Exec one and Exec two, " Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. AAAAH hah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. "

Then when it fails at the box office they wonder what went wrong with their strategy. After all SIL won best picture this year. My answer, " This movie sucks, that's why it failed. Because a casual fan of movies ( key word here ) does not necessarily enjoy Shakespeare. So change the damn thing and maybe we'll seeit. Let the Stratford productions in Stratford Ontario and England deal with the honest interpretations of the damn thing. But for the rest of us, how about entertaining?

**** I wonder how many people on the IMDb that gave this film a positive review are true Shakespeare fans. My bet would be most or all of them. And for the rest of us that aren't, there is almost no way that we can enjoy this stuff.

I hated this movie. Hated. Hated. Hated.

Hated!!!
1 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Enchanting And Transporting
jhclues17 September 2000
The village of Monte Athena, Italy, at the turn of the Nineteenth Century is the setting for this delightful version of William Shakespeare's `A Midsummer Night's Dream,' directed by Michael Hoffman. Bustles are in decline, and a new invention, the bicycle, is rising in popularity; and on this one particular night in the forest, mortals and fairies come together for a mirthful interlude rife with mischief, unsolicited intercession and the pursuit of love. This is a most engaging production, highlighted by a number of outstanding performances, beautiful photography and a wonderful score by Simon Boswell which features the talents of Cecilia Bartoli, Luciano Pavarotti, Renee Fleming and Roberto Alagna. Kevin kline gives an especially noteworthy performance as bottom, while Rupert Everett (Oberon), Dominic West (Lysander), Anna Friel (Hermia) and Sam Rockwell (Flute) are also exemplary. Michelle Pfeiffer is absolutely stunning as Titania, Queen of the Fairies, and Stanley Tucci delivers a nimble Puck. There are some wonderful moments in this movie, and one especially memorable scene in which Bottom and his troop perform `Pyramus and Thisbe' for the Duke (David Strathairn) and Hippolyta (Sophie Marceau); it is hysterical. Rounding out this superb cast are Calista Flockhart (Helena), Christian Bale (Demetrius), Roger Rees (Quince), Max Wright (Starveling), Gregory Jbara (Snug), Bill Irwin (Snout), Bernard Hill (Egeus) and John Sessions (Philostrate). Extremely well done, `A Midsummer Night's Dream' is a comedy that will lift your spirits and keep you smiling for hours. A great addition to anyone's video collection, this one is not to be missed. I rate this one 10/10.
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Comparing to the 1930s movie
gkeith_12 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I did not see all of this (1999) movie, but I enjoyed comparing it to the 1930s movie which had Mickey Rooney as Puck. Tucci's Puck was quite different; I did not see Tucci screech at the top of his lungs constantly like Rooney. I rather enjoyed Rooney/Puck, too, however. I always like Kevin Kline, and of course I thought of James Cagney as Bottom in the earlier movie. Both men as Bottom were totally hilarious, and yet fuzzy and lovable to the Queen of the Fairies.

The earlier movie was black and white, but it still had similar fairy magic and beautiful special effects. The earlier "Dream" had Victor Jory as Oberon, and a menacing and handsome Oberon he was. Jory/Oberon commandingly led all the fairies out of the forest toward daylight, and in this 1999 movie I was waiting for Everett/Oberon to do that but I did not see it. I like Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania, and I thought that the glitter on her skin was beautifully dazzling, and her blue and gold costuming so awesomely wonderful and divine. Of course, in the earlier movie, I really liked Anita Louise as Titania -- she was also divine for her day and time.

And then there is Thisby -- played in the earlier movie by Joe E. Brown, and boy was Brown hilarious!! Wearing that dress, he was just as wonderful as was the actor who played Thisby in the 1999 movie. Both presentations are totally hilarious and darling. The long girly wigs are so cute on these men, lol.

And again about Kevin Kline: I just adored him in "Pirates of Penzance" (when he was the Pirate King) and the more recent "Prairie Home Companion" (when he was Guy Noir). He is a good singer, dancer, comedian and actor, and not hard to look at.

The fairy-lights reminded me of the forest scenes in "Peter Pan" (2003). Perhaps the Peter Pan fairy ideas were taken from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream. And I hear that many Shakespearean stories were taken from yet other authors. Oh, well, these are great movies and plays for our enjoyment.

15/10.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Charming Fairy Dust
mermatt14 May 1999
Though some critics have dumped on this film, I was charmed by it. The movie literally sparkles. The settings are full of rich colors and magical lighting. The romantic classical music is all well chosen to help induce the hypnotic or dreamlike qualities. And the cast is an utter delight.

This is a fluffy cloud of fairy dust -- just as Shakespeare intended.
37 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed